Situated on a quiet, leafy street, the Mani Bhavan Gandhi Museum occupies an old home where Gandhi would stay during his frequent trips to Mumbai from 1917 to 1934. Today it's one of many Gandhi museums spread across India that serve to educate the public about the mahatma and his mission.
The museum features an array of Gandhi-related memorabilia, including photos and letters (some addressed to the likes of Hitler and Roosevelt), as well as multimedia presentations and an extensive library. Visitors can also see the simple room that Gandhi once occupied, complete with one of his charkhas (spinning wheels). Many visitors stop by on their way to or from the popular Chowpatty Beach nearby, and it’s a frequent stop on many Mumbai tours.
Things to Know Before You Go
- A must-visit for those interested in Gandhi, generally interested in history and social justice.
- The museum is spread over two floors, and it will be difficult to navigate for anyone who has trouble with stairs.
- The museum has a large library that's free to use, as well as a shop selling books and memorabilia.
How to Get There
Mani Bhavan Gandhi Museum is located in South Mumbai, a 10-minute walk inland from Chowpatty Beach. The nearest railway station is at Grant Road, an 8-minute walk from the museum, with train connections to Churchgate every 10 minutes. The museum takes about 15 minutes to reach from the Gateway of India by car, traffic permitting.
When to Get There
The museum is open every day from 9:30am to 6pm. It's usually not too crowded, and those who arrive first thing in the morning may have the place to themselves. The museum is an indoor attraction, so it’s a good destination on a rainy day. However, many travelers avoid Mumbai during the hotter months of April and May, or during the monsoon season from June to September).
Gandhi and the Spinning Wheel
The charkha, a type of spinning wheel, has long been connected to Gandhi and India's independence movement. For many years, British clothing manufacturers would buy Indian cotton, make it into cloth, and sell it back at inflated prices. Gandhi encouraged a boycott of British-made goods, suggesting Indian people spin handwoven cloth, or khadi. Today khadi is associated with Indian nationalism, and clothes made from the fabric can be found in shops across the country.